© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is shown on a smartphone in this illustration
(Reuters) – Shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 fell 2% on Thursday as Wall Street assessed the broader ramifications of its move to block all news content in Australia. The media, politicians and human rights groups denounced the surprise escalation of the battle for a law that would require Facebook and Google to reach agreements to pay the media, as it became clear that the official health pages and the Emergency warnings had been deleted along with the news sites. . However, Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik said investors are likely to judge Facebook’s stance against the legislation as “prudent” given the potentially broader implications of similar moves in other large global markets. “While I think Facebook said that news links only account for about 4% of content, the danger here is contagion if other countries adopt similar legislation with broader definitions of who is a publisher. Could this make Facebook pay influencers for their posts? “Shmulik said. Facebook has consistently flagged the business risks around copyright and content moderation to investors in recent years, while successfully overcoming the fallout from public relations as its ad revenue grew. Together with Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc, which owns Google, it now controls more than half of the digital advertising markets globally. Last year alone, Facebook raised more than $ 84 billion in ad sales. Chart: Facebook’s ad revenue increased more than 30% YoY in Q4 2020: https://graphics.reuters.com/FACEBOOK-STOCKS/rlgpdejorvo/chart.png Summit Insights Group analyst Jonathan Kees said that Facebook does not depend on the news unlike Google so its advertisers will remain as long as its user community remains committed to the platform by publishing and sharing content. The company’s shares, up 33% last year even as the platform was widely criticized for its handling of hate speech and misinformation related to COVID-19, fell 2.2% in early trading in New York. . Chart: Social media companies outperformed since early 2020: https://graphics.reuters.com/FACEBOOK-STOCKS/gjnvwzjxzpw/chart.png Among other big tech firms, Apple Inc (NASDAQ :), Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ :), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 and Alphabet Inc fell between 0.6% and 1.3%. Like other “stay-at-home” stock market winners from last year’s COVID-19 crashes, Facebook has exploded in value and is now worth nearly $ 800 billion. The filings show that in the last three months, company insiders have sold $ 788 million in stock. Another analyst, Neil Campling of Mirabaud Securities, contrasted Facebook’s “public relations disaster” with Google’s presentation this week of a multi-year deal for news content with Australian mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NASDAQ :).